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A beautiful, soft, green and well-growing lawn. A dream of many garden owners. But if the soil is too hard, the lawn will not grow properly either. Here's what you can do about it.

In a nutshell

  • A loamy and clayey soil is by nature often too firm for the needs of a lawn
  • You can tell if the soil layer is too solid by cracks when it is dry and puddles after rain
  • Your weed is not germinating properly or showing no growth
  • Thorough tillage of the soil is then absolutely necessary
  • You then need to take good care of your lawn and aerate it regularly to keep it in good condition

The ideal floor

Lawn grasses such as ryegrass, panicles or fescue need the right soil for good and healthy growth. This is the basis for a lively, healthy and fresh lawn. Grasses need a loose, fine and well-aerated substrate. Only then can the roots of the grass develop well and the grass stays healthy. If the layer of earth is too hard, this is exactly what will not succeed. The roots cannot spread sufficiently and cannot supply the grass with enough nutrients. This results in poorly growing lawn plants or even the death of the lawn grass. The ideal conditions are therefore:

  • a loose, finely crumbly substrate
  • adequate ventilation
  • a pH between 5.5 and 7

Recognize the hardness

If your soil is too hard, you will probably recognize this very quickly. The grass does not germinate or continue to grow. When it rains, puddles of water form on the lawn because the rainwater cannot seep away. When it is dry, cracks form on the surface of the earth and it is very difficult to pick up the earth by hand. If you see these signs, your substrate is definitely too firm and compacted and you should do something about it so your weed can grow nicely again.

reasons for the hardship

The main reason is usually a very high clay and loam content in the soil. Because clay and loam compact very quickly and make the substrate hard. Another reason is heavy use. If there is a lot of walking or playing on the lawn, the weight compacts it much faster than an area that is hardly walked on. A heavily used green area therefore needs much more care.

Tip: You can determine the clay and loam content of your soil by picking up a handful of dirt and trying to form a sausage out of it. If this succeeds easily, the soil is very clayey. If the sausage falls apart easily, it contains more sand.


However, if your ground is too solid, you can do something about it and loosen the layer of soil. If the subsoil is very hard and still completely without a layer of humus, you cannot avoid taking far-reaching measures. Once the humus layer is in place, you must continue to maintain clayey soil regularly to maintain the loosened condition.

Radical soil renewal

If your subsoil is too clayey and firm, you have to prepare it fundamentally once for the (re)greening. The following steps are necessary for this:

  • Dig up the ground completely to the depth of a spade (autumn)
  • Work coarser quartz sand and compost into the soil
  • Water the surface of the soil regularly when there is no rain
  • Application of high-quality lawn seed (spring)
  • Frequent but not too intensive watering of the lawn (no waterlogging!)
  • Fertilize with lawn fertilizer in early summer

Notice: If you completely renew the lawn, you can immediately pay attention to the pH value. If this is too low, you can lime the soil before sowing. If it is too high, you can work bark humus into the soil layer.

Regular grooming

In order for the loosely planted lawn to stay that way, it needs regular care. Digging is no longer necessary and makes sense. However, the lawn must always be well aerated and occasionally loosened up. With a digging fork or a hoe, the top layer of soil can be loosened and the air can reach the roots better. You can also scarify the green area. The turf is scratched and the aeration of the soil layer is increased. These steps will prevent the soil from hardening again.

scarify the lawn

Notice: A wet lawn compacts faster when you walk on it. Avoid walking on the surface while it is still wet.

frequently asked Questions

Are there grass seeds for solid soil?

There are many different lawn seed mixes on the market. Some dealers now also offer special mixtures for hard and loamy soils. They can then best deal with the given conditions. Deep-rooted lawn plants, for example, are particularly suitable. However, you cannot avoid regular care and ventilation.

Do I have to pay attention to something when mowing?

Lawn mowing itself does not differ according to the soil conditions. When reseeding the lawn, you should only mow when the lawn is five to six centimeters high.

Can I loosen the substrate with plants?

That is possible. For example, you can use clover, yellow mustard, marigolds, marigolds, lupins or nasturtiums to naturally loosen the soil. Sow these plants in early summer. In winter they die and decompose. But you shouldn't sow the new lawn until the following September. Weeds that grow in summer should be removed.

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